Self care is a commonly used phrase these days and as a society we are encouraged to prioritise it. But what does it actually mean? Often associated with candle lit bubble baths and trips to the spa, the ‘self-care’ hash tag is found underneath images of shopping trips, nail appointments and following an afternoon pamper.
All of the above can absolutely be a form of self care; however depending on your current circumstances, self care can be as simple as brushing your teeth and paying your monthly tax bill. How glamorous!?
There is no specific list of rules surrounding self care activities, it’s all about considering what you need (and what is realistic) in the present moment and making that a priority.
Self Care by definition:
‘The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health’
‘The practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress’
Prioritising self care is a necessity in order to help us take control of and protect our overall health and happiness.
Self care is not selfish
Be compassionate to yourself. We put pressure on ourselves to always prioritise others, working to take care of everyone else before checking in with ourselves. However, how can we put all of our time and energy into looking after others if we don’t do the same for ourselves?
Think about how you treat yourself. Is this the way you treat others? Is this the way you would like to be treated by others?
When we are kind to others, we feel good. So why not start being kind and caring to ourselves?
Look after number 1
Self care will help us to be the best versions of ourselves. Prioritising that all important ‘you time’ proves to yourself and your body that you are valued, you are worthy and you deserve to be taken care of.
At times, when were stuck in the routine of daily life, we lose touch with who we are and what makes us feel good. If this is the case it’s all about getting to know yourself again, thinking about what you truly enjoy and making these things a daily habit.
Basic acts of self care
In a busy, faced paced world, it’s unrealistic to assume we have hours of time to spend on ourselves every day, however often when busy and stressed, these are the times we need to prioritise self care the most – and it doesn’t always require lots of time!
Often the basic acts of self care are the most effective. Things like a walk with a friend, a phone call with a family member or a morning stretch whilst listening to your favourite song!
Nothing fancy or expensive, but still bringing a sense of peace and happiness and contributing to both physical and mental wellbeing. Remember, like all things health – what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another – find something that works for you and make it a priority.
How to get started?
Re-assess your view of productivity! Let go of living by the rules of your to do list and consider how you feel once you’ve given yourself permission to have some time for yourself. Once you start to realise self care could actually make you more productive – helping to boost your mood and providing you with the motivation to continue, you will be more inclined to plan it in each day.
Meet yourself where you are. If you put pressure on yourself to take part in a specific self care activity when you have a particularly busy week with other things going on, you could end up feeling more stressed out afterwards, and this could make your self care journey less sustainable.
Remember, as well as self care being a positive luxury and an opportunity to focus on doing what you enjoy, it can also be the chance to prevent future stress.
Forms of self-care can be:
Boring: washing, cleaning, tidying and life admin
Serious: booking a dentist appointment or remembering to take your medication
Stressful: reminding yourself to take a break even when you have a lot on
Overwhelming: allowing yourself to acknowledge and sit with your feelings
Simple: having a shower and wearing something you feel comfortable in
Nourishing: making time to cook a wholesome meal for yourself or go for a nice walk
Balanced: stepping away from routine, structure and the to do list and being spontaneous
Consider what will contribute to your overall wellbeing and happiness each day. If you’re behind on your paperwork and a morning doing life admin will make the rest of your week a little easier, this is self care well spent.
As above, self care is all about ‘taking an active role in protecting...well-being and happiness’. It works to make us feel better when we are stressed and provides us with more motivation to continue after a much needed rest. When we are constantly on the go, with little time for ourselves we can reach burn out and become unhappy. Give yourself the same advice as you would give a friend – the nudge to step away from the routine and focus on yourself. Whether it’s going for a facial or washing your hair –consider what is right for you and your individual circumstances and make it a priority!
‘I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent, caring for myself is an act of survival.’ Audre Lorde
Holistic Health Coach - Anna Whyte
'The 'Wellness with Anna' philosophy focuses on taking a more balanced and holistic approach to health, providing clients with the tools they need to make sustainable changes and the motivation to start their new health journey.
We discuss how you can eat real, nourishing food, exercise mindfully and prioritise time to relax. What I provide isn't a diet; it's a holistic approach to a healthier life.'